After the uproar in Arizona, and subsequent withdrawal of similar bills that would discriminate against the GLBT minority in quite a few states, I began thinking again about where these negative attitudes about gay and lesbian people originate. Then, lo and behold, I read the front-page article about the survey about Catholic sexuality (“Catholic Sexuality Survey Finds Dissension,” Feb. 28). While Bishop David Zubik sounds both understanding and indeed caring for all the diverse members of his Pittsburgh flock, he also commended the group Courage. The goal of that group is to help people with same-sex attractions lead celibate lives. I have a big problem with that.
This group speaks about healing, weakness and the “immorality” of homosexual acts and attempts to keep people from committing them because they are “intrinsically disordered.” Their conferences have included Bill Consiglio, who conducts ex-gay therapy, and a special Mass celebrated by Cardinal Francis George, who has compared the gay rights movement to the Ku Klux Klan. Courage does not practice but does support “change theory that may lead to heterosexual development.” Paul Scalia is also a group favorite (son of Antonin Scalia). He believes that no one is actually gay … they just have same-sex attractions.
Courage also has some pretty archaic views about gay people and sports. Robert Fitzgibbons is a therapist who “heals” homosexuals and traces gay roots to failure at sports. Mr. Fitzgibbons blamed eye-hand coordination when he spoke at a Courage sports camp in St. Louis in 2006. The idea of these “sports camps” held to “butch people up” seems to contradict common sense.
Telling any man or woman that he or she is sinful because that person chooses to love and perhaps make a life with whomever he or she chooses just isn’t healthy. To commend a group like this is to shame people, to judge people and to fuel the same fires that end up as legislation that aims to hurt all of us in the end.
Commending a group like Courage only divides the flock and certainly doesn’t help to fill up all the empty pews.